Annual leave is crucial for employee wellbeing.

People overwork themselves, experience burnout and even fall ill from doing too much.

Taking annual leave and going on holiday is a vital aspect of any employee’s life. If you’re the great leader we know you are, you’ll already encourage your staff to take their entire leave allowance.

But what about you?

When was the last time you took a step away from your business?

If you can’t remember, it may be time that you considered taking annual leave.

You may be looking after your team, but are you sacrificing your own health at the same time?

Ensure You Plan Ahead For Your Leave

In order to enjoy your annual leave, you need to make sure there’s a proper plan whilst you’re absent.

As a leader, you naturally hold the responsibility for day-to-day operations in the business.

So to keep things running at their usual level, you need to create an actionable and detailed plan that others can follow in your absence.

Once you’ve put a plan in place, communicate this plan with your employees. Let them know who will handle your responsibilities, what projects are to be undertaken and who is the designated point of contact whilst you’re not there.

Our Top Tip: To start this process, analyse the weeks leading up to your annual leave. Check the projects that’ll be happening whilst you’re off, delegate tasks to the most qualified team member and leave a list of clear instructions that can be done in your absence.

Don’t Feel Guilty About Taking Annual Leave

Feeling guilty about taking time off is one of the main reasons that people fail to switch off on holiday.

The anxiety of not being in the loop can cause leaders to make a quick call or send an email asking for an update.

The time it may take for you to get a response will lead to heightened stress, basically the opposite reason as to why you’re on holiday. A Glassdoor report shares that out of people who did take entitled leave, 15% still worked out of fear of falling behind.

What you need to do is relax.

You’re on holiday to relax, not check your phone every five minutes.

Our Top Tip: Remember that the people you left in charge are qualified individuals. You hired them for a reason – trust that reason and let them take the reins whilst you enjoy some well-deserved time off. Don’t let the guilt get you.

Format The Perfect Out Of Office

Are you really out of the office if you don’t have an out-of-office message?

Leaving your emails and message open whilst you’re away is a recipe for disaster. You’ll pick up your phone and answer a quick email.

Then that’ll turn into 10.

And that’ll turn into 100.

Sitting on a lounger isn’t relaxing when you’re replying to your emails.

This is why it’s crucial you put together an out-of-office email that will not tempt you to work whilst you’re on annual leave.

Our Top Tip: Turn off all notifications and construct an informative yet snappy message telling people of your absence. Signpost correspondents to the right people who can help them.

Why Taking Annual Leave Is Good For You

It Breaks You Out Of Your Routine

Going on holiday improves your cognition, as it disrupts our routines and makes us think. Our brains are kicked into gear as we are out of our comfort zones, leading to greater creativity, initiative and productivity levels. Research found that employees who take their annual leave are 40% more productive when they return

It Opens Eyes To New Experiences

Going on holiday, particularly to different countries, provides fantastic opportunities to soak in new cultures and ideas. Depending on where you travel, you can implement culturally diverse ideas into your office space, regardless of how small they may be.

It Lets You Live Your Life To The Fullest

As a leader, CEO or business owner, a large portion (if not all) of your life is consumed by work. Even outside of the office space, you’ll still be thinking about strategies and ROI. Taking annual leave allows you to experience the rest of your life. Spend more time with your loved ones and leave the business worries at the door for a short time. It’ll do you the world of good.

As we’re still at the height of summer, why not take the time you deserve to relax and enjoy the warm weather before it’s too late?

Take a break, recharge and enjoy some annual leave that will refuel your drive for the rest of the year.